Stocks slipped into the red on Monday morning as investors digested this weekend's elections in Germany along with the uncertain outlook for monetary policy in the US.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU party won 41.5% of the vote in the federal elections this weekend after winning 311 seats in the Bundestag, though this was four seats shy of an absolute majority.
Meanwhile the current coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats (FDP), missed out of the 5% minimum threshold and will not be represented in parliament meaning that Merkel is left having to build a new coalition with either the Social Democrats (SPD) or the Green Party, who won 25.7% and 8.4% of the vote, respectively.
"Despite Merkel winning her third term at the helm of Europe's biggest economy, the votes came in slightly short of an overall victory. It will now be up to Merkel to convince leftist rivals to join a coalition government," said Financial Sales Trader Lee Mumford from Spreadex.
Stocks gained strongly in the aftermath of last Wednesday's surprise decision by the Federal Reserve not to begin scaling back stimulus. However, gains were mostly erased by the end of the week after one policymaker assured that a 'taper' is still on the cards and could come at any points.
James Bullard, head of the St Louis Fed, admitted that this month's decision to maintain quantitative easing was a close call and that the central bank could still trim asset purchases at its next meeting. He said: "it's possible you could get some data that change the complexion of the outlook and could make the committee be comfortable with a small taper in October."
FTSE 100: Aberdeen upbeat despite volatile markets
Investment group Aberdeen gained after saying that underlying profits should still come in at the higher end of analysts' forecasts despite a slight drop in assets under management (AuM) in the fourth quarter. AuM declined from £209.6bn to £201.7bn during the two months to August 31st (fiscal year-end: September 30th) due to "considerable" volatility across financial markets, it said.
Banking stocks were providing a drag this morning with RBS, Lloyds and Barclays registering losses.
British Gas owner Centrica declined after announcing the decision not proceed with its Baird and Caythorpe gas storage projects due to "weak economics for storage projects and the announcement by the UK government on September 4th ruling out intervention in the market to encourage additional gas storage capacity to be built". Utility peers National Grid and United Utilities were also lower.
Oil major BP was out of favour early on after Beaufort Securities cut its rating for the stock to 'hold'. Meanwhile, chemicals firm Croda was performing well after Credit Suisse upgraded its recommendation to 'outperform'.
Telecoms giant Vodafone gained after UBS raised its target price for the shares
from 230p to 245p after including Kabel Deutschland in its forecasts whilst removing Verizon Wireless. The bank retained its 'buy' rating, saying that Vodafone's valuation is "attractive".
FTSE 250: AG Barr falls after H1 results
Drinks group A.G BARR's half-year profits rose 12% as a warm UK summer helped to drive sales of soft drinks, but shares fell early on after the company said it expects general trading "to remain challenging".
Dairy foods company Dairy Crest edged higher after saying it continues to perform in line with company expectations, despite the challenging trading environment, and profit targets for the full year remain unchanged.
Animal genetics group Genus fell after announcing the acquisition of Génétiporc, the porcine genetic business of Aliments Breton Foods Group, for £25m.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 397.10p +2.53%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,713.00p +1.23%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,128.00p +1.08%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 860.50p +1.06%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,081.00p +0.56%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,566.00p +0.51%
BT Group (BT.A) 344.10p +0.47%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,626.00p +0.43%
William Hill (WMH) 424.00p +0.43%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 209.25p +0.36%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,814.00p -2.99%
National Grid (NG.) 748.50p -1.32%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 360.10p -1.18%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 75.40p -1.11%
Barclays (BARC) 270.60p -1.04%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,630.00p -0.98%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 337.15p -0.97%
Centrica (CNA) 398.60p -0.90%
BAE Systems (BA.) 444.00p -0.89%
SSE (SSE) 1,563.00p -0.76%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Vesuvius (VSVS) 451.50p +4.47%
Anite (AIE) 116.75p +3.78%
Britvic (BVIC) 572.50p +3.25%
Alent (ALNT) 350.00p +2.94%
Diploma (DPLM) 622.50p +2.89%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 345.00p +2.74%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 3,749.00p +2.66%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,864.00p +2.64%
Rank Group (RNK) 162.30p +2.59%
Interserve (IRV) 568.00p +2.34%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
esure Group (ESUR) 251.80p -4.15%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 510.00p -2.86%
Dialight (DIA) 1,160.00p -1.44%
Countrywide (CWD) 562.00p -1.40%
Cranswick (CWK) 1,173.00p -1.35%
Law Debenture Corp. (LWDB) 509.00p -1.17%
Monks Inv Trust (MNKS) 385.90p -1.05%
Homeserve (HSV) 260.90p -1.02%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 165.40p -0.84%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 118.10p -0.67%